The Princess (Cleo) Diaries

Living with a diabetic cat...

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Goodnight Princess

Cleo passed away early in the morning of Thursday 15th October. She had some signs of distress on the night before, and the plan to take her to the vet first thing in the morning never came into fruition.

It was less than two days since her last checkup at the vet. Renewed insulin meds, and got her some stuff for her arthritis, and even a shampoo to help get her fur nice again. Old age didn't suit her. Her diabetes wasn't a disability with her, and certainly not the cause of her passing. It simply was her "time", and she had grown weary of the many years. I'm glad we didn't give up on her because of her illness, in the same way she didn't give up because of it.

As horrible as it was, I'm glad we were with her, and she hadn't been whisked into an emergency vet. I would have hated her to have died alone.

She was very much loved, always missed.

Goodnight my princess.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


I'm not very good at blogs and diaries. I forget to update them so quickly....

Anyway, the results of the blood tests were excellent, unfortunately not excellent enough to require a lower insulin dose, but good enough to mean that there was no need for the Vet to want to have Cleo in to do a series of tests to check her glucose levels throughout the day.

Other than that, there's no real news to update. The jabs are going well, no hiccups, Cleo seems very settled with them. Am still checking the food charts and making my own with some stats from Whiskas and the packs of food for the other 2 civvies, I wasn't entirely sure I was doing the sums correctly and so asked for some help to look them over but that's not resulted in anything yet. I then looked up some other versions, which gave me a new set of formulas to use which takes into account the DRY levels, even of the wet/tinned food. These give a very different outlook, and although I'm more confident in understanding these, I'm still not sure they're entirely there. More investigation required!

Once I've checked them all again, including some more stats I've now got, I'll see about posting them up on here.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Blood test day!

Nearly forgot it. Well, didn't forget the appointment, but did forget to ask to leave work an hour early to get there in good time. Didn't see the point of having a half day for a 6pm appointment, so was going to ask to leave a little early - except I forgot... until it was 5.20pm... ARGH! Panic panic.... rushed home, grabbed the cat, shoved her in the bag, and was at the surgery "only" 10mins late, having called to warn them of this.

Cleo is doing same as always, a lot brighter than she used to be, jumps around more, tackles those tricky "table to sofa to chair" jumps without hesitation whereas there used to be 5mins of bobbing up and down calculating angles best suited. She's been hanging round the water bowl again, which is a bit of a worry. We tend to notice her drinking more than the other two, but generally thats because she's noisier when she does it, lapping away at the water so loudly we turn to look. She does stick her chin into the bowl more than the others, as when she comes for cuddles she's often got a chin of soggy fur that she eagerly rubs against your hand. Tsk! Feeding is going well, she's got a good appetite and is even trying to snatch mouthfuls of the food from the others (we're still keeping her on the diabetic food for the moment, till we fully see how she's doing on insulin etc).

The vet then took a sample of blood, she didn't whimper or anything but wasn't looking best pleased at this, but the nurse was at hand to hold her steady just in case. Full results due in a few days, a quick check of her blood glucose level had her at 14.7 which the vet said was about twice that of a non-diabetic kitty, but he wasn't overly worried about this and said it's expected.

We'll see what he says in a couple of days when lab results are in...

Saturday, 17 January 2009

All is sweet in the house

A week on, and back to Dr. O we went, to check up on progress. I'd assumed this was to check how Cleo was doing, but it seemed he was keener to see how I was getting on with the daily shots. Truthfully, I'm fine. He'd been worried that I might have been nervous for kitty, not wanted to hurt her etc, but it has all gone well. The daily injections are simple, much helped by Cleo not even flinching with the shot. She gets her injection after her breakfast in the morning, so an hour after feeding (and when I'm done with my "getting ready for work" routine, a mixture of slacking and panic), she's curled up in the chair having a bit of a snooze. The preparing the insulin (carefully inverting it a couple of times) and prepping the syringe so the right measurement is withdrawn without bubbles of air is the simple bit really, there's no rush or pressure or worry, and so far there's been no technical issues at all. Then, finding kitty is easy enough, she's still curled up in the chair, comfy as anything. A little stroke on the head and she'll (sometimes) lift her head a bit, pinch the scruff of the neck to pull the skin up, easy again, no issue there. The only issue tends to be finding where the fur ends and the skin begins in the scruff lifted from the body, so just pushing the finger into the fur and smoothing the fur outwards a bit to "see" the pale skin below her black fur tends to help. Then, jab. And that's all it is, a slight jab sensation, Cleo isn't at all bothered and still doesn't lift her head or flinch. I think I'm really lucky with her, so laid back. The other two kitties would probably be more of a handful. Depress the plunger to release the insulin under the skin is barely a noticable act too, as the 2 units is soooo tiny it's hardly moving it at all. Then withdraw, and carefully dispose in the sharps bin. Easy-peasy.

Time prepping insulin, and syringe: 1-2 mins (probably quicker, but I don't like rushing this)
Time finding cat: 30 seconds (unless she's not in the chair, not happened yet...)
Time lifting scruff and injecting: 30 seconds.

Anyway, back to the plot, the vet was impressed, apparently he had a feeling I'd be quite calm with it all. I guess since Cleo is the one with the medical problem, and if she's dealing with it so well, there's no point me stressing about it. The action of injecting doesn't bother me either, I wanted to be a Vet when I was younger, then a Veterinary Nurse (wanted more interaction with the animals and the care, plus bonus of less study and exams! That said they still have years and years before qualifying), and I'd done work experience in a local vet which was fantastic, they'd seen my enthusiasm and were keen to show me all sides, so I'd watched operations, even helped out with minor bits like putting in a stitch, and developed x-rays, and I'm pretty sure, even done an injection back then. It's a shame I didn't follow that up. The enthusiasm is still there, circumstances changed though and years at University wasn't going to be an option for me, but hey ho, in the end if that means Cleo and me do well with injections now then all is good.

The vet gave Cleo a quick check over, no tests just yet. She looks well, so that's good. Still drinking a lot of water (more than the other 2 cats at least), but she's not hanging around the water bowl as much as she used to, a couple of months ago she'd lie often with her chin in the water bowl, occasionally lapping at it. We've another appointment on the 27th when they'll do a blood test to see how her levels are doing with the injections after 3 weeks of treatment. Depending on that result, Dr O said he'd like to try testing the levels every few hours throughout the day to plot a graph of how her body reacts to the insulin. Usually they keep them in for a day for this, but since it'd taken Cleo 24 hours to settle in during her 5 day vet visit at the start of the month he wasn't sure this would work for her, her stressing out would ruin her levels and spoil the work we'd done, so he did mention that we might do that at home - but either way, this wasn't confirmed yet so he didn't want to go into too much detail or planning or, as I believe, risk worrying me the owner out too much. I'm not worried, the home testing is something I'm still considering from having read up on the FDMB site, where it's highly recommended. I'm still looking at the different blood glucose meters, they all seem pretty much the same, some need more blood in the testing sample than others, so I'm weighing up small samples with ones that have most recommendation from other users, and those that will be easiest to find replacement strips for.

So, with the check up done, and another appointment in a while, all is well with us. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

All is well in the house

Today we're taking it easy.  It's the first day Cleo is back, and she's calmed down from checking all corners of the house to ensure it's up to her standards.   She spent most of the night back on my duvet, and was certainly there every time I woke up, purring if I reached to check on her.

Was I nervous about the first "proper" insulin injection?  Oddly not.  Got everything ready, took a syringe from it's wrapping, removed the vial of Insuvet Protamin Zinc from the fridge, gently inverted it a few times to mix, withdrew the correct dosage (2 units) and lay it on the counter carefully.  Cleo wasn't hard to find, she'd been skipping about the place happily and meowed eagerly for attention.  30 seconds later it was all over, Cleo hadn't noticed the injection but was twitchy to get away as she was in a bit of a playful mood.  Made a fuss over her, and she's getting smug, the other two cats are going to need a bit of additional playtime and cuddles as Chelsea especially is upset that anyone but her is around, she's always been very individual.   Since then Cleo has been to the water bowl a couple of times, and then back on my lap for a nap, and has now decided to go back to the chair for another nap after the exhausting nap she had earlier.  I'm keeping an eye on her, but will give it a couple of days like this before properly monitoring her and taking better notes as I want her to relax back at home and for us all to get into the habit of this before stressing some more.

Meanwhile, after ummming and ahhhing over home blood glucose testing, I think I'll pop to Boots (pharmacy) later and see what's available.  It's not going to cost me anything as I've plenty of points to use up as payment :)

Friday, 9 January 2009

Cleo's home again!

Cleo's home again!, originally uploaded by Sarah G....

At long last, kitty is back home with us. She was very fidgity in her carrier whilst I was settling the (large) bill, and since coming home has insisted on double checking every nook and cranny to make sure nothing has changed. Took 3 go's to take this pic, she'd sit happily for a second but was eager to go investigate the house some more, so leapt down and pottered about within seconds.

She smells a bit funny... not her usual warm fuzzy smell. Will have to brush that out of her coat and wrap her in her blankie until she smells more familiar.

The veterinary nurse had said she'd been wonderful, a bit moody at first but soon accustomed to it all and was lovely. Aww.

Hope she stops investigating tonight and curls up on my duvet where she belongs :)

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Visiting day!

Hurray!   At last, a visiting order (plus lesson in giving injections).  I've been completely rubbish this week in checking up on the fluffy princess.

Day 1: Called surgery after work at 6.30pm to find they'd shut at 6pm.
Day 2: Checked opening times, Tuesdays open till 7, so planned to call straight after work at 6.30pm.  Realised time at 7.15pm... 45mins unpaid overtime, d'oh!
Day 3: Determined! Open till 6pm. Must. Call. Before. 6pm.  Just needed to find 5 mins to myself at work.... realised time at 6.20pm....d'oh!

Felt guilty and ashamed, but ultimately know she's okay as if there was any trouble they'd contact me.  No matter, today I'd set myself as a half day to get there on time for 5pm to practise insulin injections.   Despite leaving work an hour and a half later than my "half day", it still left lots of time, so we got there about 20mins early and sat chatting in the waiting room.  Dr O passed by on his way to drop a letter in the postbox, and then kindly granted us "visiting rights" to sit in the examination room with Cleo.  Poor little girl!  Looked all small and slightly disheveled, her skin having gone a bit dry and flaky as it does when she's a bit stressed and hangs around with central heating too much.   Took a couple of mins but she did react to us and rubbed her face against hands and lay down on my arm - with her eagle eyes and ears trained on all the strange noises around.  You could almost see her planning "The Great Escape" with each glance towards the door to the exit.  That's my girl...!

Dr O then explained that her blood sugar levels were much improved from before Christmas, so the food she'd been on had done some good, but was still requiring the insulin injections daily.  We decided that morning injections would probably be better than evening ones, so we could regulate them to be around the same time each day.  That way if I was late home it wouldn't be an issue, with Dad being a bit iffy with needles and needing more than a couple of practise shots with purified water.

The Doc then explained how to handle the insulin (carefully), to keep it refridgerated, invert it gently a few times before use, and how to hold the needle and inject.   It all went very smoothly, despite being very calm about all this in a strangely detatched sort of way I half thought I'd feel a bit weird with the actual injecting of my own actual kitty (as opposed to when I'd done work experience in a vet and was shown how to do things), but it all went calmly, Cleo didn't even flinch or react.  She's always been good with meds, since we got her and her bro (now deceased) as cat flu ridden kittens from the RSPCA Rehoming Centre.   Quickly adapted to knowing that the uncomfortable med moments makes you better, so all was calm with her now.

Very pleased with her reaction to the insulin so far, the Doc even said that there's a possibity that her diabetes could end up being temporary, never to reappear, or to come back occasionally, or that it might stay for life, only time will tell.  That's okay, we have plenty of time, and regardless of cost or whatever Cleo comes first, and as long as neither Cleo nor me are unhappy with the insulin injections each day then it's all good so far.

Wow, that's actually a positive side to life.  Glad I'm writing this down, I doubt I'd believe myself as having said that.

Anyway, we eventually said bye to both Dr O and Cleo and were sent on our way with a sharps bin under one arm, and a box of syringes.  The cat and the insulin would follow tomorrow. :)

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